tv Meet the Presss Press Pass NBC July 15, 2012 11:30am-11:45am EDT
i'm david gregory and this is "press pass," your all-access pass to an extra "meet the press" conversation. this week i'm so pleased to be joineded by sigourney weaver, a hollywood legend, transformed to television with a new usa political series, "political animals" a political drama making headlines with its look at the private struggles of famous american families. >> it's an honor to be here. >> there are so many examples of art imitating political life and here with "political animals" you're taking on such an interesting role. elaine, somebody you would actually support politically. >> i definitely would support elaine. she speaks from you know, she shoots straight, she's got a strong moral compass.
i think we need many more elaines in washington. >> what drew you to the role? >> you know, the writing was wonderful. it was, the kind of story i'm not often offered. i wouldn't be surprised if i was offered you know, mountain woman in alaska or something. but to be offered this sort of mainstream, matriarch who was a first lady, is now secretary of state, who has this problematic family, two sons, an ex-husband, you know, foul-mouthed mother. it was really like after eating salad for a couple of years i was offered a big juicy steak. and i just took out my fork and knife and went, all right, i'm going for it. >> let's talk about the character and some similarities with a certain somebody. let's see, former first lady, who had to deal with the public acknowledgement that her husband had cheated on her. runs for president, concedes, becomes secretary of state, even former president is involved, the campaign trail.
>> that does sound familiar. >> this is very much the clinton family story, it appears. the campaign poster in the show is exactly hillary's campaign placard. we have time on our hands, so we check into these things. >> you know more about it than i do. i must say i love the idea that it's inspired by not only the clintons, but by a lot of the families who have been in the white house. that seems to leave an imprint on these families, for better or worse. and the families often try it get back in the white house and that's sort of what our story is about. who will make it of all of us, who knows. but i think that i love the fact that, that our creator, greg berlonte couldn't resist some of the salient facts of the clintons. but i always felt from the moment i started reading it. that elaine was her own person. i wouldn't dream of trying to imitate or impersonate hillary clinton, whom i admire very very
much and i think she's done an awesome job in every job she's had. but i wouldn't -- you know, i would need months to prepare for that. but this, i just sort of turned the page and i was in the world of the hammonds and in the world of washington, d.c. which is so fascinating. and i just sort of jumped off the cliff. >> we have a clip actually of your character, elaine in the concession speech. says that she certainly plans on living to see the first woman president. >> although we were not successful in securing the nomination, this campaign has had so many victories. and i want to take a moment to say something to the young women and little girl who is joined our cause. please, don't be discouraged by my loss. as sure as i stand here and because i stand here, one day one of you will be president of
the united states of america. and that is a day this woman plans on living to see. >> do you believe -- do you believe that's possible? do you think you'll see that? >> gosh, i certainly hope so. i do notice that our country is lagging behind a lot of other countries around the world. and we do you know, for a population of almost 51% of americans, we have terrible representation in washington. and one of the reasons i wanted to do the show is to show a woman politician, who is so herself and so direct and who brings the kind of female energy to politics that i've seen as a mother, you know, if you need something done, in your school or in your community, you ask other mothers to help you. and mother energy is very powerful. so i wanted to sort of demonstrate that. because i do think it might actually encourage more women to run. we'd be very good. we'd certainly do as good a job, if not better. >> the dynamic here, i mean of
female leadership versus male leadership. do you think -- i'm tnot trying to set up some sort of battle of sexes, is that a part of it you think is lacking in our national leadership? >> i think women are you know, we are, if you look at women's dna, apparently our dna is quite different from male dna. male dna is much about going to a, getting the, killing the animal and bringing it back to the cave. where as women's dna is all about keeping the child from falling into the heart fire. and i just feel like right now with things the way they are, we need more female dna, keeping our children from falling into the fire. but i do feel that women, you know, there's a wonderful documentary called "14 women" about the women senators, republican and democrat, and they all get together every week.
they listen to each other. they support each other's bills. i think that women's leadership. i travel around the world quite a bit, listening to other women talk about other issues. i do think, not that men don't do this. but women apparently do listen. we are much more about team-building. our leadership structure is much more linear rather than hi hierarchical. i think it's great to have that energy in washington. >> would you like to see secretary clinton run for the presidency again? >> i think that will be amazing. in four years, maybe we'll be ready for her. she's certainly ready for us. >> what about president obama, you say you'd be supportive of him. i know you said once a president gets a second term, the gloves come off. >> it's interesting, we were talking today, about the importance of being a political animal.
as a politician, and how much of a political animal obama is. you know because a lot of that is relishing the, the game of politics. and it's been a very, a very difficult game in the last four years. and i don't know how much one could relish it. but i do think we need, i do think if he gets four more years, you know, it's been so frustrating for him and for a lot of his supporters. that i think he'll just go for it. that's my hope. >> what is it, what would you like to see him go for in the second term? >> well i certainly think that he has ideas about education that he can, you know, there are a lot of things -- to me, the democrats and i'm not a professional politician. forgive me if it's very simplistic. to me, the democrats are always going to be about what the people need. and the republicans are much more serving big business and i don't think we can afford to
serve big business for another four years. with mr. romney. so i mean i think that there are many things on his agenda that he would probably like to do, that we haven't even begun to see, because his hands have been tied. not that that's an excuse. i think he has to, when four more years, everyone is going to go, all right we're stuck, let's get some things done that we need to get done. >> we'll take a quick break and be back with sigourney weaver after this. ♪ ♪ ♪
we're back more of our "press pass" conversation with sigourney weaver, who is out with a new usa mini series called "political animals." to what do you attribute what has become a voracious be a tight among television viewers and others for sort of political drama? it's what your character represents. it's the drama of political life. but it's also this window into how politics operates and how poorly political institutions operate today? well i'd like to know your answer to that question, frankly. because especially this summer, during an election year, we seem to have so many. >> well it seems to me people have so much invested in politics and there's interest in it, the sport of it. but then you have this personal dimension that seems to creep into everything and there's such an entertainment value of the dramas of these families.
>> well, for sure. >> that take over. >> and certainly in the case of our show, "political animals" it's quite heady to go from the, you know, from the situation room into you know, elaine's kitchen, where you know, there's even more fur flying because we have like every family in america, it's actually much easier to be effective and lucid and clear and in control at work than it is at home. because things in the family seem to spiral out of control. >> but it's interesting, i mean could this family exist in the real political world with the kind of spotlight that there is today, if it is loosely based on the clintons, then that's one model. you know, is, is there more tolerance for you know, the average dysfunctional family in political life? or would it be too difficult to pull that off? >> no, i think that this family.
i can definitely see them within the circumference of our story, getting back in the white house. because actually whatever you may think about our fictional family, the hammonds, they have a true commitment to serving the public. that is much greater than any sort of political goal. they are both bud an emain hammond and for all i know, the sons too, eventually, they have that in their, in their dna, that they are going to continue to try to make things better for the country and for the citizens. and that is completely sincere. you may disagree with how they do it or you know, or you know, who their citizenry is. but i think that that's completely sincere. you can't, you know, i think elaine's passion is very inspiring to me. she always shoots from the hip. she's not afraid to ask